Grandma's haven
Grandma's haven
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planning old ladies' parties
planning old ladies' parties
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abandoned sewing machine
abandoned sewing machine
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Grandfather's funeral keepsake
Grandfather's funeral keepsake
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favourite place to read
favourite place to read
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Grandmother's desk
Grandmother's desk
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Grandmother's independence
Grandmother's independence
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keepsake photographs
keepsake photographs
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Grandma
Grandma
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Her Name is Ng Kiu Sau (formerly "This is 91")
 
December 2017, Toronto, Canada

When I was a child, I attended lots of weddings for distant cousins and family friends. We would all gather at my grandmother's home in Chinatown first and then walk to the restaurant. My grandmother would often insist that we snack on baked goods an hour before the traditional, table-breaking, sumptuous ten-course banquet to come. Today, whenever I visit before teaching at the hospital, she still presses me to have a banana or a coffee. 

 

Some things, like the curtains, have not changed since my childhood. But much more has long since gone. Only my grandmother lives here now. The photographs on the mantlepiece track the addition of marriages, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. My grandfather's old room is now my grandmother's favourite place to read. Increasingly housebound, she nonetheless lives a rich inner life. She connects to the outside world through the TV and the radio, she chats with neighbours after pruning her favourite peonies, and she calls her friends to arrange "old lady parties."

Photographer's addendum: My grandmother passed away in December 2021. Her name, not often spoken since she came to Canada, was Ng Kiu Sau.